A Bearded Birthday

It’s Friday and The Bearded One’s 39th birthday. I’m so excited as he’s taken the day off work and we have the kids for the weekend.

As I’m sure everyone can sympathise with, money has been tight post Christmas so I have been stashing presents away over the last few weeks like a squirrel collecting nuts. The problem of where to hide them was easy… in the blanket box at the end of our bed containing all the clean baby towels, blankets and muslins that only I seem to know exists. After one shitty argument I actually hid a present in the washing basket, just to prove a point. I forgot about it myself for about a week. None of us seem to wear much white! 

Usual morning routine commences, 5am snuffling from The Baby until 7am when I get up to feed him. Making coffee, tea and orange juice I come back to bed to give The Bearded One his presents. He’s delighted and it’s made my morning. 

We’re discussing the plan for the day which I’m told consists of movies and snuggles (my favourite) when I explain I need to leave at 2pm to pick up my new glasses before I collect the kids for 3.20pm.

I’m then told oh the kids have cinema club and won’t need picking up until 5.15pm. Fan-fucking-tastic. That means battling rush hour traffic to get back into Northampton around 6pm. 


My face obviously says it all as The Bearded One apologises thinking he told me and that we said we’d go together. His brain is one of the things I love about him however he frequently has conversations with me in his head and then thinks it’s actually happened. This is for no other reason than he has 10,000 thoughts to every 10 of ours. Not always helpful. 

I find now that the smallest change of plan is incredibly stressful to me. I think it’s because nothing is simple and straightforward anymore everything has to be thought out and it has the snowball effect. 

For example.

The change of pick up time now means that I won’t be able to go to the bank local to the school as it shuts at 3pm. I could go to the bank in Leighton Buzzard having collected my glasses but I would need to take the top box off the car to get into the multi story car park to get into town. I would then need to battle the high street traffic at 5pm on a Friday night to get to the school for 5.15pm.

Not a fucking chance.

As I said… the snowball effect. Not wishing to ruin his birthday or be the moaning girlfriend I try to relax about it and enjoy the day.

Then I remember I’m in a battle with the car insurance company so have to spend 30 minutes arguing with them. 

Lunchtime rolls round and my now 39 year old boyfriend makes us a delicious sandwich with ham, cheese and ready salted crisps!

I decide to brave it and collect my glasses after all. Executing Plan B down to the minute I get ready to leave the house to the question of “do you think you could get there for 5pm just in case they’re early?”

*Don’t shout at birthday boy, do not shout at the birthday boy!*

Arriving in Leighton with top box in tact I attend my “spectacle fitting” a day late. This is pointed out to me by some airline reject of a bellend wearing far more makeup than my 18year old self ever did. I wouldn’t usually be so unnecessary cruel about someone’s looks but she really pissed me off. She asked me “did you not see it said Thursday? Today is Friday“. I should’ve replied with “no but now you know why I need fucking glasses genius!” but instead I do the British thing and apologise. 

Sitting me at a desk she comes over, opens up the case and tells me to put them on. 

“How do they feel?”. Fine. 

“Do you like the frames?”. Yes. 

“Excellent, you’re good to go”.

I’m sorry? How the fuck is that a “spectacle fitting”??? I did all the hard work for you! If you’re going to call it a fitting at least put them on my face for me! Give me something to read maybe? Good to go my arse! Rolling my newly accessorised eyes I attempt to storm out of the opticians. As anyone with glasses will tell you the first few steps are like Bambi walking on the fucking moon. It’s really hard storm off when you’re walking like an astronaut. 

Obligatory selfie completed, a swift booze run around Tesco and I’m on the way to school. It starts snowing. At this point I’m nice and relaxed as I have 20 minutes to get there but I’m anxious I don’t want to get caught in the snow (which isn’t even settling).

I turn the corner and am immediately stuck behind a learner who is stuck behind a tractor who is stuck behind one of those truck things with the lights and the big overtake arrow sign. We are the vehicle equivalent of Russian Dolls. You couldn’t make it up.

Having steamed up my new glasses with stress and foul language I pull into the carpark with a minute to spare cutting up one the mums to get a parking spot. That will help the tension!

It’s absolutely fucking freezing and snowing pretty well now, I just want to get the kids and go.

They’re all happy and not one of them wants to wear their coats. As I take various gym bags, swim bags, laptop bags and head towards the car The Oldest One says “what are we doing about Daddy’s presents?”. “Just pop them in the boot baby”. “We haven’t got any”. 

…. what?

“Mummy said it’s not her responsibility anymore”.

(Of course she did)

“Then why did you guys say you’d been shopping?”

“We were going to but then Mummy changed her mind”.

(Of course she did) 


The Bearded One and I never bad mouth the children’s mum in front of them and regardless of our feelings we will always do what makes them happy.

So biting my tongue we head off to the huge Tesco at 5.40pm on a Friday evening. The last Friday before Half Term to buy some emergency presents and act like nothing is wrong. 

Slippers, hoodies, socks and a watch later we’re back in the car – this time without Ribena!

Hitting the majority of the traffic I’m doing my best swan impression. Calm on the surface but flapping like fuck underneath. What if I miss The Baby’s bedtime? This has never happened before. I text The Bearded One begging him to keep The Baby awake and he of course promises he would. We arrive home to a very happy Pappa and smiling baby. 

A mad rush to wrap the presents as I’m phonetically spelling out “Daddy” and “Birthday” and FINALLY we’re ready to come downstairs. 

As the clan descends on the birthday Bearded One I take the opportunity to kiss and cuddle The Baby who promptly throws up on me. 

The Bearded One is delighted with his cards and presents and the kids are delighted with his reaction. Their innocence and genuine excitement far outweighs the stress of the past 2 hours. 

Im trying to usher the kids quietly into the kitchen to light the candles and coordinate singing when The Middle One says “when are we doing the cake?”.

Nothing is sacred in this house! The Bearded One does his best “surprised” face as we bring out the cake and serenade him. 

Everyone filled with cake, kitchen cleaned and breakfast stuff laid out I try to settle The Baby who suffers from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) as The Bearded One blows out his candles. 

Suddenly a green laser flickers across our TV. It’s the little shit in the house behind ours. Sadly it’s not the first time he’s done it and whilst it’s not threatening it shines into the kids room and unsettles them.

The Bearded One is a sensational father and will protect the kids and me without question. God forbid you upset one of us! Before I know it google earth is open on his laptop and he’s counting the garden fences in readiness to go round and have a word with the parents. House number confirmed and he’s off. 

As I stand in the darkness of our dining room, rocking The Baby without daring to sit down I look longingly at my now room temperature glass of rose. I’m genuinely debating whether to take one of the straws from the kids drink and put it in my glass so I can drink hands free. 

No – there is a line and I can’t cross it. 

The Bearded One is back, parking is such a nightmare here that he couldn’t get close enough to the house to stop. The road is also too narrow to momentarily park! 

Vowing to go round tomorrow we sit down to attempt to watch a movie. 10 minutes in and one eye is closed behind my new glasses when the Middle One wakes me up explaining the little shit is at it with the laser again. 

The Bearded One is up and out the back door with handful of satsumas. A gentle “thud” and he’s back in, one satsuma down. 

I know better than to ask. 

As I rest back into the sofa trying to keep both eyes open I admit defeat and head to bed wondering what tomorrow will bring and if it will start with me cleaning up a fruit salad in the garden. 

Happy Birthday Hubby, always an adventure.


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